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Residents urged to weigh in on Lake O management plan

Local officials oppose Army Corps of Engineers’ choice among alternatives offered

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jul 29, 2021

The Moore Haven Lock and Dam. FILE PHOTO

Lee County Commission Chair Kevin Ruane has been a hardcore advocate for water quality in Lee County, even long before his days as mayor of Sanibel.

On Wednesday, Ruane addressed the Cape Coral City Council on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual option of choice, Alternative CC.

Ruane he believes the LOSOM alterative, as tendered, would have a devastating impact on the lives of Southwest Floridians as it calls for decreasing the flows to the St. Lucie River while increasing lake discharges to the Caloosahatchee during the wet season.

The Corps will make its decision sometime between Aug. 5 and Aug. 10. Ruane said the proposed LOSOM option, which the Corps says is simply a framework at this point, needs to be significantly modified, which won’t happen without everyone’s help.

“We really need citizens to speak up loud and clear. We need to send more water to the east and south. We can’t take all the water,” Ruane said. “Sixty percent of the water that goes east gets sent right back to the lake. We need one voice.”

Ruane was backed by Council, which echoed the need for all Lee County communities to put up a united front.

“This will be one of the most important issues we face. This could have devastating consequences on the economy and our health,” Gunter said. “We need to stand together and make sure we do what we can to be sure the Army Corps of Engineers realizes we will do what it takes.”